Saturday, July 22, 2023

First Roundup: 2023 Classic Film Reading Challenge


I'm excited to share the first round-up of reviews for this year's Classic Film Reading Challenge.

We currently have 36 submitted reviews and plenty more coming. Chuck and Laura are leading the challenge with four review each! We still have about two months left in the challenge so plenty of time to catch up on some reading.

If you don't see your review posted below, make sure you submit it to the form on the challenge page!

Now onto the reviews!

Stack photo courtesy of @classicsarah_ on Twitter

Alejandro on Goodreads

"Soares’ book is a reexamination of Novarro’s legacy, who despite his flaws was a good man who cared for his friends and family and gave generous donations to charities and churches to help his community."

"Truly a book worthy of its titanic subject."

"Engrossing and thoroughly researched, Galloway’s book is incisive in its accounts gained through new interviews with their friends and family and gives the definitive look at this iconic relationship."

Reading challenge photo courtesy of @awolverton77 on Twitter

Andy of Journeys in Darkness and Light

"The book is loaded with wonderful performances and great writing... DiLeo knows his stuff, and his wealth of knowledge and insight is clear throughout." 

Carl of The Movie Palace Podcast on Instagram

"Server’s book is very detailed & the scope of his research is impressive. He draws upon a wide array of sources to paint a picture of a complex woman who defies easy categorisation."

Chris of Digging Star Wars

American Silent Film by William K. Everson 

"Everson didn’t fear anyone in the film history... He dissed other writers, historians, critics, scholars, and even Frank Capra. He also doesn’t hold back on sprinkling in his political beliefs either. But, if you can see past all that, you’re in for a good history lesson on the early days of American cinema and beyond. 

"takes great strides to include music throughout the world from the early twentieth century to today in her conversation on scores and soundtracks."

"Lebo’s book is THE book to read in order to fully appreciate Welles’ masterpiece. I highly recommend it."

Chuck on Goodreads

"her book takes it a couple of steps further by showing that the Screwball Comedy influenced many other romantic comedy films that came after the genre's heyday."

"or those seeking an introduction to Italian neorealism will be pleased with this analysis on one of the most important film movements of the 20th Century."

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

"Highsmith crafts a darkly delicious portrait of mid-century class inequity, identity theft and murder set among gorgeous Italian locales..."

"Die-hard noir fans will be pleased with this book as Kearns provides an entertaining and well researched portrait of one of Hollywood's wildest actors."

Jeff on Goodreads

"Simply put, this might be the best bio I have ever read, music, film, or otherwise. Martin is so interestingly situated in twentieth century popular culture, and Tosches style of inserting himself into the vernacular and attitudes of his subject matter sweeps you along."

Jess of Box Office Poisons

"If you're looking for a portrait of the silent years of Hollywood, this might be it."

Miller's High Life by Ann Miller with Norma Lee Browning

"Ann Miller was a capital-S Star and wrote like one. This is everything you'd want in a juicy Hollywood tale: charm, wit, a lot of glamour and a lot of tea!"

Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake by Veronica Lake with Donald Bain

"Reading her post-Hollywood story, you get the sense that Veronica was happy to be out of the fish bowl, but I'm not sure I'd describe her as particularly happy outside of it either. 

John on Goodreads

"My only true criticism is based on the fact that since this is a TCM publication which led me to think that there were to be more film adaptations from the 30’s and 40’s. Despite that minor detail, author Kristin Lopez gives readers a well-researched and well written collection of essays that invites film fans to further explore and compare the written component of many of their favorite motion pictures."

Kayla of Whimsically Classic

Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake by Veronica Lake with Donald Bain

"Lake very matter-of-factly tells her life story, without making any excuses and without being pretentious. She doesn’t dwell on the negative in her life, and just accepts everything as-is."

Kevin on Goodreads

"You can’t run the Hollywood Dream Factory without a solid balance sheet. Then and perhaps even more now, that is the fundamental tenet at the core of this book about the rise and fall of the Hollywood studio system between two World Wars."

"Frankel expertly weaves all of these themes together with social and film history and observations on film production for a highly enjoyable and recommended read."

Mexploitation Cinema by Doyle Greene

"Greene does a masterful job “unmasking” these masked wrestler and monster movies though to show how they reflect the tension between traditional societal values rooted in the Catholic Church and a country attempting to forge its own national identity after WWII."

Reading stack photo courtesy of @LaurasMiscMovie on Twitter

Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

"As a classic film fan I was disappointed that only nine of the book’s 52 films predated 1960, as there are so many wonderful options to discuss from those decades... Either way, it’s a brisk, enjoyable read."

"Despite the sad overarching theme, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone interested in the actresses profiled."

"beautifully designed, a great read, and educational — pretty much everything I could want, even as someone who doesn’t imbibe. For those who love cocktails, the book will be that much more enjoyable and useful."

"a meticulously produced book which will be enjoyed by both serious and casual film fans. It will invite longtime film lovers to revisit old favorites & inspire newcomers to check out many titles for the first time." 

Molly of Classic Mollywood

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

"I didn't hate Peyton Place, but it wasn't the best book I have ever read... Overall, the book was juicy but it definitely was missing character development." 

Ralph on LibraryThing

"This slim hardcover book is a thoughtful examination of courtroom films and I am very the glad to have read it along with watching or re-watching the films discussed."

Rear Window: And Other Stories by Cornell Woolrich

"Woolrich's stories have been adapted many times in the mediums of film, television, and radio and never more successfully and popularly than by Alfred Hitchcock for the film Rear Window based on the 1942 short story originally titled "It Had to Be Murder.... This is an entertaining collection although the individual stories and their twists might stand up best not being read consecutively."

Raquel on Out of the Past

"an informative and engaging read. This concise book gives the reader plenty to chew on without overloading them with too much research."

"an enjoyable read and recommended for Marx Brothers enthusiasts who want to know a bit more about Dumont. The book is very matter-of-fact and it's straightforward and simplistic approach will appeal to readers who want to focus on the information rather than read something with more editorial interjections."

Robert of Robert Bellissimo At the Movies

"[The book] is as tasty as those drinks..."

Shawn of The Everyday Cinephile

"provides a much-needed investigation of DeMille’s life and career, examining his many films and exploring the seeming contradictions in DeMille’s personal life and public persona."

Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino

"I wish more creatives would publish their own long-winded musings of the classic-era films without feeling the need to edit out or tone down their own personal biases... reading an off-the-cuff approach infused with so many unabashed personal opinions proved to be turn-paging fodder that reinvigorated my own passion for film."

Yolanda of Dishonored Lady on Instagram

"The book can feel like a short academic textbook but in a good way... The book highlights parallels within early film noirs and music-infused films."

Playing the Field by Mamie Van Doren

"My takeaway was being impressed that she was an incredibly hard worker. She performed for years after movie offers were few and far between."

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